Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Looking After Yourself

It is not a surprise that during the holidays our already maxed out adrenals go into super overload because now we are hosting, cooking, shopping, travelling and doing it all with a smile on our faces. 

We can read and agree with everything out there about decreasing your stress during the holidays, incorporating self-care routine, not falling off your health and wellness routine and setting boundaries but nothing will work unless you take serious steps to ensure they do. 

This month, along with others prior to December, we talk about different avenues on how you can look after yourself. We have talked with local 'experts' in the field to ensure we are getting the correct information and providing you with resources to further pursue that avenue if you so choose to. 

Finding healthy ways to help manage your stress, not just in December but year round, is critical for your wellness. The added demands that come in December brings this issue into the spot light and creating boundaries is especially important now. 

We sat down with Tammy from Bliss Counselling and talked specifically about holiday stress which you can watch here. Learn from this month but take these strategies and implement them year round.

Remember : It's okay if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious

It is not okay to ignore or push these feelings deeper inside. Acknowledge and deal with them. You are doing the best you can and it is okay to feel this way, be gentle with yourself. 

Some ways to decrease the stress can include; 

  • Exercise. Sweat. It. Out. This method will not only help burn off those delicious baked goods but it is also a mood booster. Last year we talked to  Kim Holmes about ways to stay active and healthy during the holiday season. Check out her great advice here . 

  • Yoga. This is the perfect strategy to help you slow down and be present. Yoga helps calm our minds and release tension in our bodies. We have many fantastic yoga studios surrounding us so pop online to see their holiday schedules. Here are a few if you do not have your favourite studio; Modo Yoga Waterloo , Fearless Heart Yoga , Big Bliss, Amma Yoga and Queen Street Yoga 

  • Guided Meditation. This is an easy one to incorporate into your day. You can find a multitude of free, or low cost, meditation apps that can help give you imagery and direction if you are new to this form of stress reduction.  This type of mindfulness has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress, improve, boost the immune system, even improve fertility. Studies are also showing there are huge benefits in children as well. We have summarized a few that you can read about here

  • Breathe. It sounds simple and it is. We just need to pay attention and slow it down. Breathing practices can help support a positive mental and physical state of health. If you practice this slow breathing techniques after a meal, it helps facilitate parasympathetic mode to put your body into 'rest and digest' mode. Follow along with Megan Prenty by clicking here

  • Sleep Hygiene. We know that lack of sleep has a long list of health implications and it is even harder to get a good rest when you are stressed! It is so important to have a routine before bed that takes you out of the sympathetic, go go go phase to a slower parasympathetic state before hitting the pillow. Dr. Jessica goes through the roller coaster of stress and some sleep hygiene tips

  • Pamper Yourself. Set some time aside to have those beautiful social media moments of #selfcaresundays. Where you have lit some candles, put on your favourite Spotify playlist, fill the tub with epsom salts/bath bombs/ bubbles and submerge yourself in the wonder. A warm soak helps 
    • reduce stress
    •  improve your sleep since your body temperature drops after getting out of the bath
    •  helps reduce body aches and paints
    • improves detoxification by drawing out lactic acid. 
The dim lighting also helps calm you and if you use lavender, sweet orange or a relaxing blend essential oil into your bath water, or scented bath bombs your senses will sure to go into relaxation mode. 

  • Spend Time In Nature. Getting outside into the fresh, maybe brisk, air is great for us. It helps ground us and makes us slow down and enjoy the view. Your body will automatically become more at peace when you are trecking through the trails. This is not a social media moment, keep your phone in your pocket and take it all in with your eyes. 

Too many of us feel guilty about sitting down, saying no or scheduling 'me time'. Think about how crazy that is! Self-care is never a waste of time and it is never too late to make some lasting changes. Make this holiday season about the moments, memories and the times together rather than the gifts and the Martha Stewart table placements. Shift your mindset and enjoy the holiday season. 

Happy Holidays 

From Your Friends at The Coach House

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Giving Back This Holiday Season

Each year we find a local organization that the clinic can donate to. We love our city and want to give back to the community. 

  This year we have decided to adopt a family through Family Children Services. Many smaller charities do not have a large marketing funding pot, so we did some research to some of the smaller organizations making a big difference! Of course it is not limited to the list we have put together, but we tried to hit the 3 large subgroups, people, animals and plants and as local as we could get. Two resources we found useful while looking for charities that use majority of your donations to the cause were Charity Intelligence Canada and Canada Helps

We encourage you to do the same this year. Most of us don't need more stuff, but we do need to help the less fortunate, the ones without a voice and our planet. 



If you haven't heard of HopeSprings, it is an organization who works with individuals diagnosed with cancer. They work on improving the individual's life emotionally, physically and spiritually during such a devastating time. Here you can find a safe space with information and support to help you work through it. 
Each year, HopeSpring's Cancer Care Coach, Anne, provides over 450 hours of 1 on 1 cancer care coaching sessions to their members. This service is free of charge to the recipients. The sessions provide valuable tools and coping strategies to those affected by cancer in Waterloo Region. 
This year, consider donating to Hopesprings and help support their work along with the 1 on 1 coaching sessions. Visit their website to find out other ways you can get involved year round. 

Kitchener Public Library

A place to gather, learn and grow. The library accepts donations which gets put towards funding priority needs not covered by your tax dollars and make a difference for everyone coming through the doors of the library.

You can also donate your time to the library. At Kitchener Public Library, they have 554 volunteers who generously donate 11,000 hours each year and participate in over 25 different opportunities!

The volunteers take books to at-home readers, run English Conversation Circles, read with young children, tutor students, assist with programs, offer well-maintained book collections, provide résumé coaching, tune instruments, and give much needed assistance.
Every day, they play a vital role in welcoming our community to engaging spaces where people connect, ideas flourish and lives are transformed.
To learn more about our volunteer program, visit their website


Lutherwood is a progressive, not-for-profit health and social service organization that strengthens people's lives by providing mental health, employment and housing services to more than 14,000 people annually in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. 


Since 1905, the YW has provided essential programs for women and families. Today, we provide programs in the areas of early learning and childcare, homelessness and housing, girls’ recreation and leadership, and employment training, and we speak out on issues affecting women and families. The YW is a community-based, charitable organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We are a member association of YWCA Canada, the largest women's multi-service organization in Canada. Through YWCA Canada, we are a member of World YWCA, the oldest and largest women’s rights organization in the world.

Monica Place

Monica Place is a registered charity that provides support to pregnant and parenting youth. 

Their vision is to collaborate with the community where pregnant and parenting youth are safe, supported and valued.
Located in Waterloo, this non-profit organization provides services such as the Chaplaincy Program, Childminding Program, Circle of Security, Counselling, Parent and Child Residential Program, Prenatal Health Program, Prenatal Parenting Program and much more. 

Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region operates two emergency shelters for abused women and their children: Anselma House in Kitchener and Haven House in Cambridge. They also operate a regional Outreach Program. Being the only agency of their kind in Waterloo Region, your help is greatly appreciated and needed. They strive to help empower women to move beyond abusive and violent relationships. For their health and the wellness of their children. 

This is another organization that could use volunteers. There are opportunities for everyone from high school to professionals who have the hours to give. Visit their website for more information. 

Sleeping Children Around the World

Though not exactly a local charity, this is an organization that was recently brought to our attention. Sleeping Children Around the World is a 100% charitable organization that

Each $35 donation provides a bedkit that consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, clothes outfit, towel and school supplies. Bedkit contents vary from country to country depending on local needs. Bedkits are manufactured or purchased overseas, and assembled in the country of distribution to not just eliminate shipping costs but to stimulate the local economy. 

The bedkits are also distributed by volunteers who travel overseas and donate their time and expertise to the cause. 

provides bedkits to children in developing countries. 

Sanguen Health Centre

Sanguen is a not-for-profit, community-based health care agency. Sanguen provides education to everyone. Understanding drug use and creating an inclusive community is really difficult if we’re uncomfortable talking about drugs and harm reduction. Sanguen’s team provides educational workshops and presentations on a variety of topics - including harm reduction, substance use, hepatitis C, overdose prevention, naloxone/narcan and many other issues that may impact people who use drugs. All the presentations are focused on what is happening in our community and includes resources.

It can be difficult for people to access reliable information, support and medical care - for a lot of different reasons. Sanguen dedicated Outreach Workers, but the entire team also provides service in addition to outreach at their clinic and community spaces!

A volunteer-based LGBTQ+ community venue that is sustainable, supportive, positive and a safe space for people of all ages in Waterloo Region. SPECTRUM is Waterloo Region’s first LGBTQ+/Rainbow Community Space providing information services including events, resource directory, library (books & film), history, survey/map of gender-neutral washrooms. Support groups for transfolk, older adults, relatives & friends, immigrants, refugees and newcomers. Recreational and social including games, crafting, hiking, reading circle and more! SPECTRUM will work together with allies to ensure a strong and inclusive community.

oneROOF Youth Services

oneROOF Youth Services is committed to providing for the safety, support and overall well-being of youth who are experiencing homelessness, and youth who are at-risk of homelessness aged 12-25 in Waterloo Region. oneROOF provides hot meals, food hampers, clothing, hygiene products and advocacy to youth who frequent their services. oneROOF Youth Services provides youth with the opportunity to acquire life skills training, anger management workshops, recreation and sports opportunities, crisis counselling, family mediation, substance abuse education/referral/treatment/aftercare, emergency shelter and more.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region

Many children and youth in Waterloo Region struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives like detrimental living conditions, family violence, risk factors for mental health, school issues and identity challenges. These circumstances have nothing to do with the value of who they are or who they can become, but because of these situations, children and youth risk not having the opportunity to live up to their full potential. Even worse is the possibility of continuing cycles of poverty and crime or developing mental health issues.
This comes at a cost to the young person, and to society. With the guidance and support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth are reminded they can be anything they dream of being.

CMHA provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health or developmental needs. Serving everyone from children to adults to seniors, all under one roof. CMHA has programs to help individuals and families to lead lives filled with meaning and promise. CMHA works to build a community in which everyone has what they need to live meaningful lives. Building human connections that make it possible for people to achieve their greatest potential. CMHA inspires and supports people in achieving the quality of life they desire.



Grand River All Breed Rescue  

Grand River All Breed Rescue is a foster-based animal rescue group based in Cambridge, Ontario. They do not operate a shelter – the animals in our program live in home environments with foster owners until they are adopted to a permanent family.

Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue has many roles from rescue animals from humane societies, help temporarily foster animals, help with people in crisis keep their pets and trap/neuter and release feral cats. 
They are in need of any financial or item donation! No donation is too small or too big. If you are interested in buying items, they also have a wish list.

The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS)

Their mission is to provide re-homing and medical care to displaced companion animals and to support the community in areas of humane education, behaviour counseling, the promotion of responsible pet ownership, and the needs of animals.

TAGS is a charitable non-profit organization and does not receive any government funding. We are entirely reliant on public donations for funds. Other than monetary donations, TAGS needs other pet care items like good quality dog food, dog beds and blankets, leashes and collars, winter coats, dog toys, etc. We also need other items like building materials and services.
How We Use Your Money
100% of your donations goes to helping the animals in our program as we have no paid staff. TAGS’s largest expense by far is the veterinary bills. We want to be sure that all our dogs are healthy, and sometimes this means expensive medications or surgeries that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In addition, all TAGS dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped prior to adoption. While TAGS is fortunate to receive some donations of dog food, we also spend money purchasing quality dog food to feed to our dogs in foster care. Other expenses include the production of training, educational and promotional material.

Pet Patrol Cat Rescue

Pet Patrol is an entirely volunteer-run, non-profit organization in the Waterloo Region area. They began in 1996 in recognition of the overpopulation problem of felines in our community. Giving cats a second chance and an opportunity for a full life as they are a NO KILL rescue. Pet Patrol helps cats that have been abandoned, ill or homeless, to find new homes. 

Pet Patrol also help feral cats with their TNR (Trap Neuter Return) Program, colony feeding programs and helping to find hobby farms for the less socialized cats so they can roam freely but will still receive annual vet care, daily food and water and a warm, dry place to sleep.


Donkey Sanctuary

Located in Puslinch on a 100 acres you will find the Donkey Sanctuary. Where they provide a lifelong home for donkeys, mules and hinnies who are unwanted, neglected, abused, or whose owners can no longer care for them. They promote the responsible stewardship of all animals through humane education. 

The Sanctuary is a working farm and to keep the cost down (and all profits going towards the animals) they only have a few staff members. 
There is always a lot of work tending to the animals, giving medication and cleaning barnyards. If you are interested in being a hands-on volunteer, you need to visit their website to find the next orientation session. This is a 1 day training course that is required in order to volunteer with the animals. 
You can also do non- animal related events that require volunteers such as their Open Days event. 

World Wild Life Fund

We have heard of them and maybe even seen some of their heart wrenching commercials but did you know you can donate and get the perfect gift!? You can adopt and animal, receive information on that animal, a certificate and a stuffed animal. They also have the new 'Wild Card' option where more money goes towards the animals and you receive a wildlife card only.

By symbolically adopting a specie, you will help conserve wildlife and the future of our plant for generation. There is over 30 different species to choose from that you are bound to find the perfect match for the special person on your list. 

EVAH is a Humane Alliance-partnered ‘High Volume Spay/Neuter Clinic’ dedicated to providing comprehensive preventive medicine services, including spay/neuter/vaccination/microchipping/anti-parasite treatments, as well as general out-patient medical and surgical services for pets cared for by low-income individuals, those on social assistance, animal rescue groups, humane societies and municipal shelters in a 12 county region surrounding Kitchener and London.


Seeds Of Diversity Canada

Seeds of Diversity Canada is a non-profit network of gardeners and farmers, promoting biodiversity of food crops through conservation, documentation, and use of open-pollinated plants. Their mission is to teach and encourage seed-saving of vegetables, fruits, and grains suitable for the diverse climates of Canada. 

Community Gardens

The community gardens in Waterloo Region are part of the Waterloo Region Community Gardening Network. The Network is composed of garden organizers, gardeners and representatives from community agencies that promote healthy and inclusive communities.

The Ministry of Education sees school gardens as a tool for promoting well-being. 

 Learn more about Gardens for Healthy Schools from a recent scan of school gardens in Waterloo Region. 


Rare Charitable Research Reserve is an urban land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo Region. Their first four locations are protecting almost 1000 acres of highly sensitive land. 

Rare works with their team and members of the community to discover the most inclusive practice and find answers to environmental issues for ecological integrity and future generations. Their emphasis is on education and engagement of the community. 
The research informs restoration practices and educational programs through Chain of Learning that is geared towards young learners in a program called Every Child Outdoors (ECO). This model promotes active, hands-on, problem- based environmental learning in the great outdoors. 
Visit Rare's website for more information on how you can participate 

Elora Environmental Centre

Their mission has been to deliver cost-effective programs and services based on leading-edge business and technology skills that will conserve energy, reduce water usage, optimize resource use, promote recycling and creative re-using, and minimize waste. 
As land development increases we loose some of our tree canopies. Neighbourwoods is a branch of the Elora Environment Centre, and a registered Canadian charity, working to rebuild the community tree canopy through tree planting, stewardship, public education and advocacy about the need for, and value of trees.

As a non-profit organization we can offer independent and unbiased advice with a clear dedication and commitment to the environment.

The holidays are a time of year that we need to remember to be charitable to the ones without a voice and less fortunate than we are.
Let this holiday season inspire you to make it the year of change. Try donating or volunteering at one of a few of these organizations. They are making a big difference in our community and always welcome help.
'Tis the season of giving !

Happy Holidays.
Love, The Coach House Team

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Fall Recipes

We all know the importance of eating healthy, and also about moderation. RMT Megan is sharing her favourite "best of both worlds" cookie recipe. In the spirit of fall and incorporating veggies into baking, this is her favourite twist on a classic- chocolate chip cookies with pumpkin.
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup fresh oven roasted sugar pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 bag of semi-sweet  chocolate chips
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. add 1/2 bag of chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Osteopath John, loves this favourite simple classic fall time recipe. It's perfect for a cosy night in as the nights get colder. 

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup shortening
1 cup less 2 tbsp milk
3 - 4 apples, peeled, halved and cored
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Brown Sugar Sauce
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp  butter

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheet.

COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in shortening. Pour in milk; using hands, wooden spoon or stand mixer, knead into smooth dough. Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 to 8 pieces. Roll out each large enough to wrap around 1 apple half. Place 1 apple half on each piece of dough, cut side up.

2. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Spoon sugar mixture into each apple hollow. Wet edges of the dough, pinch together to seal over apple.

BAKE in 350°F oven until apples are tender, about 30 minutes.


1. While dumplings are baking, in a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water, brown sugar and butter to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes.

2. Serve dumplings warm with Brown Sugar Sauce drizzled over top.